In reviewing BP’s latest Statistic Review of World Energy, the big story for world oil last year was obvious: the USA’s third straight record-breaking increase in average annual production. Just over 75% of the net increase in world oil production during 2014 came from the USA; add in Canada and 90% of the total increase came from North America. Throw in Brazil’s first significant increase in three years and you have all the world’s net gain in world oil production accounted for by three non-OPEC players. Production from all other producers combined was flat. So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?
Last week started with the China’s stock markets suffering the biggest one-day loss in eight years. After that it was mostly down hill for the oil markets. There was a bounce after the Wednesday stocks report showed a larger-than-expected, 4.2 million barrel, drop in the US crude inventory, but by the end of the week prices were falling again. At the close Friday New York futures were down to $47.12, the lowest close since March 20th, and London was down to $52.26. The week’s losses left US oil futures down 21 percent during July and Brent down 18 percent, the largest one-month losses since last December. The price drop in July was the largest since the 2008 financial crisis.
The slide in oil prices continued with New York futures closing Friday at $48.14, down 6 percent for the week, and London futures closing at 54.42, down 4.3 percent during the week. This time the decline was aided by an increase of 21 rigs drilling for oil in the US suggesting that US shale oil production will increase or at least decline more slowly. The decision to reactivate these rigs was likely taken a month or more ago when prices seemed to be stabilized around $60 a barrel. In addition to the increase in rigs, the now normal factors of a stronger US dollar, a contracting Chinese economy, increasing inventories, and higher oil output from Saudi Arabia and Iraq contributed to the falling prices. The prospect that more Iranian oil will be coming on the the market before the end of the year also keeps pressure on the market.
While still volatile, oil prices continued to decline last week with New York futures closing at nearly a three-month low of $50.89 – down 3.5 percent for the week and 14 percent this month. In London oil futures followed a similar pattern with Brent also finishing at close to a three-month low of 57.10 – down 3.2 percent for the week and 10 percent this month. This was the third consecutive weekly loss for oil futures.
By Art Berman. Reprinted from ArtBerman.com World oil demand increased by 1.1 million barrels per day in February. This is a potentially important data point that suggests a crude oil price recovery sooner than later. It is also important because it further supports the view that a production surplus and not weak demand is the main cause for the […]
By Robert L. Hirsch. The recent world oil supply/price decline situation looks very much like what happened in 1985-86, when the Saudis dramatically increased oil production, causing world oil prices to crater. That Saudi action was the result of their having acted as swing producer in OPEC, which under those circumstances caused a progressive loss […]
A National Energy Program – A White Paper on Achieving Energy Independence and National Transformation. By Lawrence Klaus. Revised and Updated, January 2015. In a recent post, we marked the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo–an event that has had profound economic and geopolitical aftershocks for the United States. The embargo itself lasted […]